Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Please pick up your phone and call now

For just a dollar a day you can make a difference in the life of this child.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ilene Adelaide Hunt Hurst

September 24, 1917 - July 10, 2008

My grandma passed away yesterday. She had a massive stroke at the end of May and never regained very much use of her body or the ability to speak. The last year was hard on her. She broke her hip, went through rehab, and moved back home only to break 2 vertebrae a short while later. The pain medication from the spinal problems about did her in, but she improved and moved to an assisted living apartment which is where she was when she had the stroke. This time last year Grandma was still living on her own, driving occasionally (yikes!), and planning her 90th birthday shindig.

If you couldn't guess, Grandma was extremely independent. Even when forced to use a walker after breaking her hip, Grandma wouldn't let anyone else do even small things like taking a plate back into the kitchen or putting the newspapers in the garbage. Two summers ago after Grandma's first spinal fracture I planted a small garden in Grandma's yard thinking it would give me an excuse to go up and check on her every other day. Most days when I stopped in she was out working in the garden, watering or pulling weeds, which wasn't the point at all! Grandma did, after all, hold the record for swimming the longest length of time underwater as a girl in Bluff.

When Grandma had to stay in the rehab unit after breaking her hip she complained that the other people there couldn't even carry on a conversation about current events. Grandma watched the news every night and kept up on politics. It wasn't unusual to find some article that had interested her taped to the hallway wall. This past winter Grandma frequently lamented that she did not have the energy to go out and do her own Christmas shopping. Even if someone else volunteered to do the shopping, Grandma insisted upon going along so that she could pick out her own gift for whatever the latest occasion was. Christmas, birthdays, new babies, graduations -- Grandma recognized every event and accomplishment. I think my favorite gifts from Grandma were when we had a vacation planned to go out west. Grandma would send us a note with some money in it "to buy souvenirs." For little kids who never had any money of our own, being entrusted with a sum of cash to use for whatever we wanted was quite a novelty. I know I used mine one year to buy a little cedar treasure box from a gift shop at the Grand Canyon.

Grandma was at my high school graduation, my wedding, my college graduation, and my law school graduation. She visited me in the hospital when both of my boys were born. When I came to BYU I didn't have any of my family nearby. Grandma took me in and frequently invited me up for dinner or offered to take me and whatever cousins happened to be in town out to dinner. She had me and Bryce up for dinner when Bryce and I were just dating and was impressed because Bryce did the dishes afterwards. Grandma couldn't stand to have visitors in her home and not offer them something to eat and drink. No matter how loud and long we insisted that we weren't hungry, Grandma would go into the kitchen and start baking some cookies, or put a frozen pie in the oven, or bring up sodas from the downstairs storage. When my brother Evan came out to do a term at BYU, Grandma treated us all to chair lift rides at Sundance and rented mountain bikes for Bryce and Evan. In her younger years, I suspect she would have been riding down the side of the mountain as well if she'd had the opportunity.

When I brought my babies to her house to visit, Grandma always wanted to hold them and would rock them and sing them lullabies. Will especially loves visiting Great-grandma's house. He knows where all the toys are and knows he won't get in trouble for dumping them all out in the living room and then racing cars around on Grandma's glass coffee table. Grandma was even gracious when Will puked concord grapes all over her dining room floor. I tried to clean up and rushed him home. Grandma called first thing the next morning to see if he was feeling better. On another occasion, Sawyer was really fussy when we were at Grandma's house because he was overdue for a nap. Grandma was concerned even though I kept saying that he was just tired. The next day Grandma called just to make sure that Sawyer had recovered and was feeling better. One time when we visited Grandma brought out a new toy she had purchased so that "there would be something interesting for Will to play with." One of the buttons made a doorbell sound effect which on more than one occasion caused Grandma to open the front door for nobody.

On one of our family vacations out west, my parents took us to go see some Indian ruins they remembered going to when they were dating. We eventually located the ruins, but getting to them required crossing a rope and board bridge over a river and then crossing a large expanse of plain before we could reach the cliff in the distance. We had made it about halfway when we came to a barbed wire fence marked with frequent no trespassing signs. We stood around wondering what to do until Grandma grabbed hold of one of the no trespassing signs and pulled up, creating a gap between the wires and instructed us to "Go through right here."

In her later years, Grandma was constantly frustrated by the limitations of her aging body. Grandma, I hope you are enjoying life without physical restriction...and I hope you didn't have to cross any "no trespassing" signs to get there!

[I've been trying to get a few more pictures on here by stealing them from my brother's website, but it is not responding so I will try again later. I know I had pictures of Grandma holding both Will as an infant and Sawyer in the hospital, but I think they are on my dead laptop because I can not find them.]

(Pineapple) tidbits as Mollie would say

So I still haven't gotten around to getting the pictures and videos up on the last post . . . but here are a few random items.

My mom watched the boys for us while we went to NYC. At some point she told Will to do something "in the meantime" (I don't remember the details). Will responded, "No Grandma! Not in the meantime. In the happytime."

Last night I woke up to Will screaming. This happens at least 3 to 4 times a week. I went into his room and asked him what was wrong. He stopped screaming long enough to tell me: "That teddy bear ATE MY MP3 PLAYER!" I told him that his MP3 player was safe downstairs, but he kept sobbing and added "Nacho took it out in the street and it was tied round and round a truck and he gave it to the teddy bear to eat it" followed by more wails. So these are the horrific nightmares of an almost three-year-old.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Celebrations....waning.

So since my Mom's birthday which was mentioned in the last post we have celebrated my birthday, my brother Kyle's birthday, Megan's wedding, my anniversary, Megan's Connecticut reception, and the 4th of July. We also had the quarterly Enrichment meeting for the women at church. Still to come within the next 11 days are Will's 3rd birthday and Sawyer's 1st birthday. And I just remembered I still haven't made a doctor's appointment for their yearly check up...hmmmm.

My birthday was on a Sunday this year which is always a little disappointing - I'm sorry but it is true. Bryce and I went out for dinner the night before and I kept pestering him and saying that I would like to have dinner with my family on my birthday. Growing up we always had birthday dinner as a family and afterwards was when you opened presents and ate cake. I happened to have quite a bit of family in town at the time so I wanted to take advantage and relive the tradition. Bryce was acting less than enthused about the idea, but since I didn't want to be disappointed I kept mentioning it repeatedly. After birthday dinner on Saturday night I said "So don't we need to go to the grocery store if we are going to have family over for dinner?" and Bryce agreed. He bought a bag of chicken and when I asked what we were going to have with it he said we could have some frozen broccoli and rice or something. Which was fine with me (really!). On Sunday a.k.a. Birthday morning Bryce had a meeting which took an unusually long time and when he got home he asked me if I wanted him to make me breakfast. I informed him that I had already eaten since it was almost 11 o'clock. Waiting for food when hungry doesn't bring out the best in me. We went to church at 1 and when we got home I opened the front door and saw that the table was set all fancy for dinner and there were birthday balloons. I thought Bryce must have sneaked (okay I had to try snuck and sneaken before I found one that wouldn't get underlined) back home during church and set it all up but then my little sisters and Mom jumped out and said surprise and I found out that my sister Mollie had already had the dinner planned as my birthday present...explaining Bryce's less than thrilled attitude towards my dinner demands. We had salads like at Costa Vida with tortilla, chicken, beans, lettuce, and cilantro-lime rice with tomatillo ranch dressing. She used the recipes I got from my friend Joanna when she did a cooking demo at Macey's grocery store and it is amazingly delicious. I think it is the only meal I make that tastes as good as a restaurant. I will have to put the recipes on here and you can all (all 3 or so of you) try it and you can worship the name of Joanna with every bite like I do. So I had dinner with Megan and her fiance, Mollie and her boyfriend, my brother Kyle and my Mom and then my cousin came over to have cake with us. It was really nice. I think birthdays have the unfortunate potential to be really disappointing so I am happy to say that what I expected to be a rather lame Sunday birthday turned out to be quite enjoyable. Thanks hubby and family!

The next day was Kyle's birthday. My mom came over to my house to bake a cake and used Mollie and Megan's standard chocolate cake recipe...which I had tried to bake last year for his birthday and failed miserably at. I felt a little better this year when my mom had the same troubles I did. Turns out the recipe is altitude dependent and prefers to be baked at sea level. I frosted the cake and with enough frosting you can make pretty much anything respectable. That evening we took the cake to Kyle's apartment where Kyle had so kindly provided his own gallon of milk to go with the cake and a package of birthday candles. We watched Kyle open presents including the Wii Fit from Mom and Dad. Unfortunately Mom left before witnessing Kyle do the hula hoop exercise which I will try to post here.
video
On June 17th we traveled to Idaho in preparation for the wedding the next day. The flowers were purchased in Provo and brought to Idaho in a cooler and then transferred to a hotel mini-fridge. Unfortunately the mini-fridge would more accurately be called a mini-freezer and we discovered the next morning that the $15 orchid for the bride's hair froze and then once exposed to room temperature turned brown and fell apart in about 30 seconds. We also lost the red and yellow rose petals that were to decorate the luncheon tables to this identity-challenged fridge but luckily the other flowers were in a different fridge and were spared. The wedding was in the Rexburg temple at noon and it being a brand new temple with what I assumed would be brand new sealers (people who perform the wedding ceremonies) I expected the ceremony to take about an hour. It took 11 minutes start to finish. This should have given us an advantage in getting set up for the luncheon that was scheduled at 2:30 in the BYU Idaho gardens. We took pictures outside of the temple and then everyone took off towards the gardens. I stayed at the temple to help Megan with her dress while she took pictures. I headed down to the gardens at about 2...which proved to be more than the 3 minute walk I was told to expect. When I got there none of the decorations were up and I was told that, despite my mom getting 2 confirmation e-mails and going to talk to the people in person the day before, when she arrived at the gardens there was not a table nor chair to be seen. When she telephoned to inquire as to why the tables, chairs, and linens which were supposed to be set up at 11 were conspicuously absent at 2 she was told that they "had no order for her." Some tables were eventually located and the catering staff graciously helped with set up, but it was kind of frantic. The luncheon was in full sun which caused the guests to use their dinner napkins as protective headwear. Mollie and I got ridiculously sunburned...which of course was in the nasty blistering, peeling stage just in time for the Connecticut reception. Seven days before the wedding in Rexburg it snowed with a high of 45 degrees so I guess we shouldn't complain about the sun.

We drove back to Utah after the luncheon because Bryce had to be at work in the morning...and there really isn't a lot to do in Rexburg anyways. That Saturday Megan, Chad, Mollie, the boys, and I were scheduled to fly from Salt Lake to Laguardia (NYC) and then we planned to take a shuttle and train to get to Connecticut. (The tickets to Laguardia were about $150 per person cheaper than flying to Hartford.) The morning of the flight Delta called and said our flight was delayed and would be leaving 2 1/2 hours late. I found this highly irritating and got in "lawyer-mode" as Mollie called it and called Delta to let someone have it. I was surprised to find them extremely accommodating and offering to get me on any other flight. They suggested a few other flights to Laguardia with layovers (we were supposed to be on a direct flight) and I told them that was not acceptable because I was flying with young children and had purposefully purchased a direct flight. I told them that I was actually trying to get to Connecticut and maybe they could fly me to Hartford instead. Which they, amazingly, readily agreed to. Then I told them I was traveling with 3 other people and they agreed to rebook them as well. Since we now had a layover I also told them I wanted a golf cart thing to take us to our connecting flight and they agreed to that as well. So in the end we got on a flight to Hartford and avoided the whole shuttle, train situation and the flight attendants were very attentive the whole way. Delta's willingness to meet my demands was cleared up a bit when we found that our flight which was originally delayed 2 1/2 hours was later delayed 4 hours and then 5 hours and then canceled all together. So luckily we got put on a different flight before all the other people that waited until the flight was canceled to find some other alternative. The moral of the story is...even when you don't expect any results it is always a good idea to call and chew someone out...at least you will feel better...right? is that a moral? or immoral?

The reception in Connecticut was on the following Tuesday and was perfectly fine which was surprising considering my mom and I made the wedding cake and my sister and I did the bride's hair and I have no experience with either of those things. My 6th anniversary was the day after I flew to Connecticut so Bryce and I didn't have a chance to celebrate. I decided to look into getting a hotel in NYC as a delayed anniversary celebration. I found what was theoretically a 4.5 out of 5 star two blocks from Broadway and after hemming and hawing booked it for one night. Nonrefundable. Bryce flew to Connecticut a week after I had left and got in late Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon he commented that he felt achy all over which I attributed to his long day sitting on a plane and train. By Sunday night he had a headache and went to bed early only to be up all night throwing up. Which I was blissfully unaware of having retreated to another bedroom at the first inkling of germs. Bryce woke me up at 6 a.m. and after trying unsuccessfully to locate a walk-in clinic I took him to the emergency room in Middletown. We probably would have been totally ignored, but it was still pretty early and the nurse seemed a little concerned because his pulse was 130 and he had a fever. They got him in a room, gave him 2 liters of fluids over the course of the next 5 hours, gave him a prescription for antibiotics and an anti-nausea drug (coincidentally the same one I was on the last time we were in CT...which was 1 1/2 years ago when pregnant with Sawyer) and sent us on our way. Bryce spent the rest of that day sleeping. Of course, you may recall the nonrefundable hotel room which I had booked for the next day. Given the laws of my universe it was, of course, mandatory that someone end up in the emergency room when there is a nonrefundable hotel room booked within the next 24 hours. So we left the kids with my Mom and went to New York City the next day anyways with my purse full of prescription drugs. We stayed at the Royalton which I'm not sure was 4.5 stars-worthy but oh well. (I booked the hotel on Hotwire so we didn't know what hotel it was until after we paid for it.) After checking in at the hotel we headed to the South Street Seaport to get half price Broadway tickets for a matinee the next day. The selection was unimpressive so we ended up with "premium orchestra seats" for the Phantom of the Opera which I had already seen. After buying tickets we headed straight to B+H Photo to purchase the digital slr which Bryce funded as my birthday/anniversary present. My older sometimes-photographer brother had pointed us towards B+H for the best prices on cameras, but when we got there we found that the camera I planned to purchase was discontinued and the new model was $200 more than I had planned to spend. A phone call to brother revealed that the new model could be had from Amazon for $50 less anyways so we left empty-handed. Which was particularly sad because I didn't bring a camera to New York thinking that I would be able to take pictures of our getaway with my new fancy-dancy camera. After that we spend forever trying to find somewhere to eat dinner. In fact, probably 80% of our time in the city was spent trying to find somewhere to eat. We weren't even being overly picky...we couldn't find any place that served food! At one point we thought we found a deli place but they informed us their grill was already closed (at about 5 p.m.). After finding somewhere non-memorable to eat we went back to the hotel since Bryce was still not feeling too great. The next morning we checked out of the hotel and wandered around for a while before our show. Our "premium orchestra seats" turned out to be under-the-mezzanine-and-the-last-2-seats-on-the-far-right-side-of-the -theater seats so apparently "premium" means "what no reasonable person would pay $60 a piece for which is why they are still available the night before this performance". The cast was having difficulties as well. The conductor kept sticking his hand up out of the pit and trying to get them to come in on time or stay in time to the music. They had good voices but the acting was about small town high school or perhaps Primary talent show level. Then the girl sitting behind me decided to sing along and I thought I might have to kill her or perhaps drug her with my purseful of prescriptions. After the show we walked around playing the find somewhere to eat game and ended up at that truly unique New York eatery known as McDonalds. Then we found some trinkets to bring back for the boys and went back home. This was our first night away from children since Will was born (except for the Bar Exam which I do not count because I try not to think about those 2 days in general). I do not write all this to complain, I write it simply to explain our Dickerson family motto: "We're not cynical, just realistic."

On the 4th we went for an "adventure" as Will called it. We drove to the neighboring town and checked out an "archaeological preserve" that neither my parents nor I had ever heard of despite living 5 minutes away for over 20 years. It was the remains of some old factories. Afterwards we went out for lunch at a Mexican restaurant (God bless America!). We didn't see any fireworks since it was rainy and overcast and we were busy packing up to leave.

We flew back to Utah on the 5th. Our flight was out of Laguardia so we had to leave my parents' house at 3 a.m. The kids did sleep in the car, but after arriving at the airport at 5 a.m. both kids managed to be up until 10 p.m. Connecticut time.

We had some friends bring us our car at the airport and they washed and detailed the entire thing inside and out while we were gone. Can you believe that?! After eating lunch with them we headed down to Payson to meet up with 2 of my former roommates and their spouses and kids. It is so nice to hang out with people who you've known long enough that there is no awkward conversation-making and you can just laugh and relax.

And that brings us up to today. I will add pictures and video tomorrow hopefully, but I figured I better get this written or I never would. If you made it all the way to the end you deserve some kind of award. I, shamefully, don't keep a journal so this is the only record of my comings and goings.